POLITICAL SKETCHBOOK                  by Rajpal Abeynayaka  

At least there is no problem with the history books
Tilvin Silva the man who waits till he wins, felt as if he won last week. But he had this to say at the BMICH: "I have to make special mention here about Rohana Wijeweera our late leader….'' He then went onto say so many things about reactionaries etc.,

Now, this will be a subject for the new schoolbooks, but how are they going to put it in? But as it was reported last week in these columns schoolbooks in Sri Lanka can take in a lot of things. In one book, a national hero dies a few years earlier than he does in a different edition of the same book.

But, the important question is, how will they take this in? Tilvin Silva says Wijeweera is a revered name to remember, and this he says at the Bandaranaike Memorial Conference Hall when he is about to sign on the dotted line with Mr Bandaranaike's old party. But Mrs Bandarnaike put Wijeweera in jail - she did.

So those students in Bandaranaike Vidyalaya who will consider Wijeweera a jailbird who mocked at the Bandarnaike proletarian government, will now feel that Wijweera is a national hero according to the new political history of the SLFP. If all this is very confusing to you, see how confusing it will be to the kids.

To explain all of this to the children will be difficult, and we might have to refer the subject to Tara de Mel herself, or then again maybe to someone who Tara De Mel herself nominates. The kids will be told yes first there was Mr Bandaranaike. Then there was Mrs Bandaranaike. Then there was the Bandaranaike Hall. Then there was Tilvin Silva. Then in 2004 he came to the Bandaranaike Hall. And he said Wijeweera has to be remembered.

One smart little kid then notices that there is a footnote about Wijeweera being jailed by Mrs Bandaranaike's government, so he asks is it all politically correct? The kid is told to turn to page 6 which explains what a reactionary is.

Then the teacher goes on - it is true, Mrs Bandaranaike and Wijeweera were not friends. But since the Bandaranaike Hall was built by the Chinese, and Wijeweera and Mrs Bandaranaike’s both liked the Chinese more than they liked the Americans, it figures that Mrs Bandaranaike’s daughter makes the man who makes Wijeweera a hero at the Bandarnaike Hall, a friend.

Boys and girls are seen scratching their heads, but they are told friendships are complicated. For instance, Mrs Bandaranaike never put another national hero N. M. Perera (page 13 footnote, take out your magnifying glass to read it) in jail but now his friends are not Mrs Bandaranaike's daughter President Kumaratunga's friends at all. And they don't even appear at the Bandaranaike Memorial Conference Hall unless of course it is to commemorate Vijaya Kumaratunga.

Who is "Kumaratunga'' pipes up one kid, and a she is promptly shooed out of class for not doing her homework. The others turn to page 18. Vijaya Kumaratunga they learn, is Mrs Bandaranaike's son-in-law who they learn has been killed by the reactionaries.

Another student says that his father told him that Vijaya was in fact killed by those who take after Tilvin Silva. At which point, they are told to take extra Buddhism lessons. Because the Buddha said nothing is permanent, and that your name will not be mentioned at your mother-in-law's Hall, even if those who killed you will be commemorated inside that Hall sometime later. At this point they are reminded that most of their fathers do not like their mothers-in-law anyway, so it all figures in the end….

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